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The tasty dish called fabes con almejas is essentially a seafood chowder made with clams, as well as certain varieties of beans or legumes. This food is attributed to the Asturias region of northern Spain, where, according to culinary experts, it originated from a coastal culture accustomed to cooking seafood. The ancient kingdom of Asturias is now the autonomous community of Asturias that makes up part of the modern Spanish nation-state.
In terms of geography, the Asturias region where fabes con almejas originated is on the Atlantic coast. It is situated next to Galicia, which is in the northwestern corner of Spain. Underneath this region is the nation of Portugal.
The traditional fabes con almejas dish includes a specific variety of beens called fava. These larger beans, which can often be confused with limas, are popular in various dishes all over Spain. For example, in the northeastern Catalonia region, fava beans are also used in some of the most prominent regional dishes.
Along with the fava beans and clams used for this dish, various other ingredients are common. Some of these include onions and garlic, two vegetables often used in regional cuisine for strong flavoring. Another is saffron, a locally available spice. Parsley often figures in many versions of fabes con almejas, and olive oil is a regular ingredient in this dish as well. Some cooks may also use other vegetables like carrots, as well as additional elements like flour to make the consistency of this dish different.
Local food experts claim that fabes con almejas is a version of a separate dish involving the fava bean, where the seafood version accommodates using the mussels when they are available. Others note that the dish also seems partially based on the quintessential Spanish dish paella, which includes rice instead of beans, but may include many of the other ingredients in fabes con almejas.
Where cooks all over the world pay attention to this and similar items in Spanish cuisine, they may moderate this dish to make it fit their own regional food supplies. One example is a new England version of the dish popular in U.S. states like Rhode Island and Massachusetts that may substitute pinto beans or great northern beans for fava beans, and can use locally available types of mussels. This version may also call for other elements like white wine to flavor the dish.